Money for College

Whether youíre planning to go to college or seek a technical or career education, thereís money to help you pay for it.

You should first check out grants, scholarships and other free money that you donít have to repay.

Also, look into ways to cut your college costs. Consider starting at a community college, becoming an AmeriCorps volunteer to earn an education award, or taking AP courses in high school for college credit to help you graduate earlier and save on tuition.

If you donít receive enough free money and arenít able to cover your costs with savings or other resources, there are low-interest federal loans for students and parents that offer flexible repayment options.

The keys to finding money for college are to start your research early, explore all your options and make sure you meet all deadlines.

Applying for most financial aid is free — simply complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, and provide any other information that may be required. To apply for a Cal Grant, for example, youíll need to submit your verified Cal Grant GPA as well as the FAFSA by the March 2* Cal Grant deadline.

*Missed the March 2 deadline? There is a secondary deadline, specifically for California Community College students, September 2. Submit the required forms before the September 2 deadline to be considered for this specific Cal Grant. There is a limited number available.

You should still complete the FAFSA to be considered for other state, federal and college financial aid. Contact your financial aid office to learn more.

You can apply for financial aid every year, from your senior year of high school through your senior year of college — and even beyond, if youíre headed to graduate school.

Here are some tips to help you plan and pay for college: